Medicine Ball fun

I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend.  I know I did.  I had the pleasure of celebrating my 30th birthday this last Sunday with family and a few friends as well as having a good time celebrating Friday with friends.  I also did something I haven’t ever done before since I’ve been training: take a holiday besides Thanksgiving and Christmas off.  I slept in Monday morning, went out to breakfast with my wife and her dad and then hit the gym for some heavy deadlifts.  All in all it was a great day, and I’m very glad I chose to take sometime for myself. That being said, it’s back to work today, but I’m feeling refreshed and ready for the week.  So, here we go!

I spend a decent chunk (15 minutes or so) of my hour with clients focusing on metabolic conditioning.  This is very different than typical “cardio”.  While running/jogging on a treadmill does burn some calories, metabolic conditioning is definitely more physically demanding, and is much more effective at burning fat.  I will go into more detail about the how and why behind this soon.  But for today I wanted to give you a few, possibly new, metabolic conditioning ideas with medicine balls.

Medicine balls are super versatile, not too expensive and come in a variety of weights making exercises scalable to an individuals strength.

First off, Overhead Medicine Ball Throws:

It’s easy to use strictly your arms for this exercise.  That’s not what you want to do.  Your entire body weight should be put into the movement, giving you a great deal more force into the throw.  Be sure and use a regular medicine ball that has some bounce to it.

Cues:

-Take an “aggressive” step forward.  Anticipate putting all of your body weight into the throw.

-Alternate which foot is forward with each rep.

-Stay up tall keeping the abs tight as you throw.

-Keep the reps low, 3-6 per side.

Next up, one of my favorites, Medicine Ball Slams.

Again, like the Overhead Throws, it’s really easy to use just your arms for this exercise.  Your entire body weight should be put into this movement. To avoid a bloody nose, be sure and use a “dead” medicine ball since they bounce very little.

Cues:

-Start and finish each rep standing up tall with the arms extended.  Don’t finish the rep hunched over.

-As you start the descent, think of trying to pull the ceiling down on top of you.  In other words, come down explosively with every bit of strength you have.

-At the bottom of the movement, think of finishing more like a deadlift rather than a squat.  Your hips should be up a bit higher and pushed back, keeping a vertical shin.  Don’t drop your butt to the ground and allow your knees to shoot forward.

-When first attempting these, you will feel like a complete idiot trying to catch the ball off the bounce.  It will take some time to get used to, due to the small bounce the ball gives you.

-When coming back up, drive your heels into the ground and stand up explosively.

-Everything about these should be quick and explosive.  Resist the urge to give yourself a brief rest by either standing up slowly or resting in between reps.

Here’s an idea of how to pair these two exercises for a metabolic conditioning circuit:

OH Medicine Ball Throws: 8 reps

Rest: 30 seconds

Medicine Ball Slams: 12 reps

Rest 30 seconds

Repeat 2-4 times

Try ’em out and let me know what you think!


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